Sunday morning in London, my boss’ mom passed away peacefully in her sleep. When he emailed the news to me, I wasn’t surprised for she had been ill for a long long time. Still, I cried. I cried not only for his loss, but for anyone who has lost a loved one.

To me, losing a loved one is the saddest and most painful thing for anyone to experience & the truth is, nobody can run away from it.

My dad passed away 4 years ago, unexpectedly. One evening he was admitted to the hospital to treat an ulcer & the next morning he passed away. It turned out, his ulcer raptured & he haemorraghed sometime in the middle of the night, in his sleep. The doctors assured us he didn’t wake up, he died in his sleep. We just took the doctors’ word for it.

For those of you who have lost a loved one, you know people will always try to console you & tell you that you’ll get over it. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate their good intentions but let me tell you, those who said that, never lost a loved one. If they have, they’d know that YOU DON’T GET OVER IT. Yes, the grieve will slowly cease to hurt but there has never been a day that has gone by, that I don’t think of my dad. Everything that I do, I would ask myself if he would have approved, if he would have been amused, what he might said etc.

Even Fudge, I still miss her. She passed away a week shy from her 4th month birthday. Although she had only been with me for a few short months, she left a deep imprint in my life. Sometimes when I look at Junior (who is just about a month younger), I would think to myself, “Fudge would be doing exactly that, if she’s here now.”

So you see, you never get over it. But by holding on to the good memories helps to deal with the lost better. Life goes on and I am a firm believer that our paths with our loved ones are intertwined. So, we will meet each other again. Soon.

Laws of Physics

May 29, 2006

Law of Cat Inertia. A cat at rest will tend to remain at rest, unless acted upon by some outside force – such as the opening of cat food, or a nearby scurrying mouse.

Law of Cat Magnetism. All blue blazers and black sweaters attract cat hair in direct proportion to the darkness of the fabric.

Law of Cat Thermodynamics. Heat flows from a warmer to a cooler body, except in the case of a cat, in which case all heat flows to the cat.

Law of Cat Stretching. A cat will stretch to a distance proportional to the length of the nap just taken.

Law of Cat Sleeping. All cats must sleep with people whenever possible, in a position as uncomfortable for the people involved, and as comfortable as possible for the cat.

Law of Cat Obstruction. A cat must lay on the floor in such a position to obstruct the maximum amount of human foot traffic.

Law of Dinner Table Attendance. Cats must attend all meals when anything good is served.

Law of Rug Configuration. No rug may remain in its naturally flat state for very long.

Law of Obedience Resistance. A cat’s resistance varies in proportion to a human’s desire for her to do something.

Law of Refrigerator Observation. If a cat watches a refrigerator long enough, someone will come along and take out something good to eat.

Law of Random Comfort Seeking. A cat will always seek, and usually take over, the most comfortable spot in any given room.

Law of Bag/Box Occupancy. All bags and boxes in a given room must contain a cat within the earliest possible nanosecond.

Law of Cat Embarrassment. A cat’s irritation rises in direct proportion to her embarrassment times the amount of human laughter.

Law of Furniture Replacement. A cat’s desire to scratch furniture is directly proportional to the cost of the furniture.

Law of Cat Landing. A cat will always land in the softest place possible; often the mid- section of an unsuspecting, reclining human.

Law of Cat Disinterest. A cat’s interest level will vary in inverse proportion to the amount of effort a human expends in trying to interest him.

Law of Pill Rejection. Any pill given to a cat has the potential energy to reach escape velocity.

Law of Cat Composition. A cat is composed of Matter + Anti-Matter + It Doesn’t Matter.

1) My terms of endearment for Chaos are “boy ah, boy” & “darling girl ah” & when they drive me nuts “see gin nah!!” (I can’t translate).

2) I develop a systematic order of washing, dusting, cleaning & scrubbing.

3) The toilet roll paper has to face this direction & the other is JUST WRONG.

4) Gets uncomfortable when someone else cooks in my kitchen other than myself (even if she is my mother).

5) Gets nervous when guests don’t use the coasters & leave water rings on the table. Its there, USE IT!

6) I start swopping recipes with women I’ve never met in the marketplace but we just happened to be buying from spinach from the same vegetable stall …..

Pampered Pets

May 28, 2006

Yeah, I can just see Beauty ‘frolicking’ the cat spa, ‘relieving her stress’ by shredding other felines to teensy bits before enjoying cuppa catnip herbal tea. 🙂

This story ran on nwitimes.com on Saturday, May 27, 2006 12:59 AM CDT

BY JEAN STARR
Times Correspondent

Who doesn’t like to be pampered with creature comforts like stylish clothing, massage and gourmet cuisine? According to American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, products for our companion animals are stretching well beyond the essentials and into the realm of indulgences.

The latest pet product trend report indicates that expensive treats have become must-haves for pet owners who like to spoil their furry, feathered and finned best friends. APPMA has found that purchases of faux mink coats, feathered day beds, designer bird cages and botanical fragrances are becoming more common. Reasons include the increase of empty nester baby boomers, the decrease in family size – freeing up resources for pets – and increased awareness of the benefits to humans of owning a pet.

Allison Allen opened up her online business, The Ritzy Rover Pet Boutique, in 2004. “I started the business because I have bulldogs and they’re hard to fit,” said the Charlotte, N.C. resident. “There were also few resources for things that can be custom made.”

The Ritzy Rover offers ready-made attire for smaller dogs, as well as rhinestone collars, beds, toys and even footwear. Since people with large dogs also like to pamper their pets, Allen has wider collars custom made with rhinestones. The most popular sellers, she said, include shirts, dresses and collars. The top selling color is pink, followed by blue. Items also come ready-made.

“The reason people are doing it (buying specialty items for pets) is because it’s a way to show their love for their dogs,” Allen said. “The dogs like it; they know when they’re pretty.”

Allen’s clients want items that are unique and reflect their pet’s personality. “People will call and explain the personalities of their dog,” she said. “They’re buying things to show that their dog is unique.”

No matter where you shop, there seems to be something pet-related. Garden centers often carry engraved headstones for pets that have passed away. Supermarkets and pet supply stores carry not only food but treats and toys as well. More and more tourist locations, from small town shopping areas to airports, offer something for the pet left at home or brought along on vacation.

Additional trends that reflect the market for pet products based on the APPMA’s report include:

* Big name companies like Paul Mitchell, Omaha Steaks, Origins, Harley Davidson and Old Navy offer lines of pet products ranging from dog shampoo, pet attire and name-brand toys to gourmet treats and food.

* Several hotel chains have announced new pet-friendly policies that include everything from oversized pet pillows, plush doggie robes, to check-in gift packages. Some even have a licensed dog masseuse on staff.

* Today’s pet foods include complete and balanced diets that tantalize our pets’ taste buds and satisfy their tummies. Formulas for puppies and kittens, specialized meals for reptiles, birds and fish and diets for senior pets ensure a long and healthy life for our beloved companions.

* High-tech products including computerized identification tags, digital aquarium kits, automatic doors and feeders, enhanced reptile terrarium lighting systems and touch-activated toys help pet owners take care of companion animals with ease and precision.

* As pet owners meditate in yoga class, cats relieve stress by frolicking in a toy gym or relaxing in a feline spa before enjoying herbal catnip packaged in a tea bag. Dogs sip fresh water from flowing fountains after a soothing rub with a doggie massager.

* From monogrammed sweaters and personalized food and water bowls to digitized collar tags and hand-made treats, owners embrace their pets as true members of the American family celebrating their fluffy, finned and feathered companions with their very own belongings.

Fact or fiction? 😉

Edvard Munch and his cat were strolling through the red light district one evening, when the cat was propositioned by two felines of the night. The bright lights and the saucy sex kittens were too much for him, and he ran away screaming down the street. The look on the cat’s face haunted Munch for years and found its way into one of his most famous paintings.

Idolising

May 26, 2006

Last night, Americans chose Taylor Hicks to be their new American Idol. I chose Bono. Yes, you heard me – the frontman of U2. He is my idol not just because I am a fan of U2 but mainly for the work he does for Africa & AIDS.

Bono is a world-famous artist who doesn’t rest of his celebrity laurels. Unlike the Beckhams who spend their riches on castles & useless designer toys, Bono tours Africa, dines with presidents, work with big corporate firms to raise awareness & funds (The Global Fund) for African women and children with HIV/AIDS.

Early this year, together with Bobby Shriver (brother of Maria Shriver), they started (Product) Red. They team up with iconic brands like GAP, American Express & Motorola to produce RED-branded products and a percentage of each RED product sold goes to The Global Fund.

“Celebrity is ridiculous but it is currency and I want to spend mine wisely”. Who changes the world? The answer is all of us. For we each, in our very different ways, have our own currency to spend. And we must spend it wisely. – Bono

My hero *sigh* 🙂

PS I have added the JoinRed Blog & Red website to my list on the right.

Last Sunday, CBS Sunday Morning ran a story promoting the rising trend of designer dogs. FYI, designer dogs are cross breeds. Cross a labrador with a poodle – you get Labradoole. Cross a pug with a beagle – you get a puggle. You get the picture.

Now tell me, is this cute?

It is the in-thing right now to own a designer dog. Jake Gyllenhaal & Slyvester Stallone are said to own designer dogs. There are more than 300 of such hybrid dogs in the market right now, according to the American Canine Hybrid Club & only a small number of hybrids are popular.

Buyers are particular about their designer dogs – the dogs have to fit a certain ‘look’ – they have to be small, with teddy-bear like qualities i.e. cute faces & fat pudgy bodies. The dogs have to stay small so that they eat less, poop less.

Right now, the puggle is the hottest selling dog in the window & it goes for as high as US$950. Why the high price tag when they are not pedigrees you ask? Because it is like breeding a Versace bag with a coach bag. So now a living being is reduced to a rich man/woman’s vanity piece. Insulting I say.

Designer dogs, hybrids, cross breeds are just names. They are mutts in cute packaging. How long they will remain cute – that remains to be seen. But I have a feeling that there will be more stray dogs on the streets of America in the years to come. And exactly how what do the breeders plan do with those commercially less popular hybrids?

Wed May 24, 2006 7:38 AM BST
By James Grubel

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australia is a nation of pet lovers but it may be loving its animals to death with pet owners passing on rising levels of obesity by overfeeding their cats and dogs, the country’s main animal welfare body says.

Despite its image as a sports-mad country full of fit, sun-bronzed youth, Australia in reality is battling the bulge and challenging the United States as the world’s fattest nation. The problem now extends to household pets.

Obesity rates for Australians have doubled over the past 20 years, with 62 percent of men and 45 percent of women now deemed overweight or obese.

The same trend applies to household pets, with an increase in the number of overweight cats and dogs being dealt with by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), and even one case of an obese pet mouse.

“It’s a big problem, and quite reflective of what’s happening in the human situation,” said Mark Lawrie, the RSPCA’s chief vet.

Australia is a nation of 20 million people, almost 4 million dogs, 2.5 million cats, 8.7 million pet birds and more than 12 million pet fish.

It has one of the world’s highest rates of pet ownership at 64 percent of households, compared to 62 percent in the United States and 44 percent in Britain.

Lawrie told Reuters surveys had found that between 40 and 44 percent of dogs and more than one in three household cats were now overweight, due to poor diet and a lack of exercise.

Fat cats and dogs were more vulnerable to diabetes, arthritis, heart problems and liver disease.

Dogs most at risk were Labradors, Beagles and cross-breeds such as Labradoodles – a mixture of a Labrador and a Poodle – with household moggies more at risk than other types of cats.

The RSPCA said de-sexing and lower levels of exercise had an impact on pet obesity, but the key issue was over-eating.

“It’s really the calorie intake and food that makes the big difference,” Lawrie said, adding that many pet owners could not resist giving their animals food when they asked for it.

Don’t know how you feel. In my books, reality tv just crossed the line.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/conws/3882231.html

10 Cats to Live Together in a House and Vie for Job with The Meow Mix Company

SECAUCUS, N.J., May 23 /PRNewswire/

Reality show contestants will do anything to win. Whether it’s living on a deserted island, undergoing plastic surgery or eating cockroaches, they will stop at nothing to be the best. In the latest twist on the reality genre, competitors will be asked to lick themselves clean, chase balls of string, and relieve themselves in a litter box as they scratch and claw their way towards the grand prize. However, for these particular participants, accomplishing the tasks will be second nature. After all, they are cats.

Ten felines from shelters all over the country will be selected to compete in the inaugural edition of The Meow Mix House. The cats will travel to New York City and live together in a specially-designed house from June 13th to 23rd. These cat-testants, selected from geographically and culturally diverse backgrounds, will share a kitty crib that will rival any loft ever featured on the Real World. Thanks to webcams equipped in every room in the house, peeping tomcats with internet access will be able to view all the action in real time and find out just what cats do all day when their owners aren’t around.

People can also go to http://www.MeowMixHouse.com to vote for their favorite feline, and the cat with the fewest votes will be evicted from the house. All the kitties in the Meow Mix House are winners, since whichever puss gets the boot will then be adopted into a permanent home, and receive a one-year supply of Meow Mix as a consolation prize. One by one the cats will be sent packing, until only the pick of the litter remains. In addition to winning a new life with a new family, the last cat standing will also receive a job working for The Meow Mix Company as Feline Vice President of Research and Development. He or she will be responsible for taste testing and offering valuable feedback on new Meow Mix product launches and line extensions.

The participating shelters include: Touched by an Animal (Chicago); Operation Kindness (Dallas); Houston Humane Society (Houston); KittenRescue (Los Angeles); Nashville Humane Association (Nashville); The CatNetwork (Miami); ASPCA (New York); P.A.L.S. (Philadelphia); CatAdoption Team (Portland, OR); and the St. Charles Humane Association(St. Louis). Working with local animal shelters, Meow Mix will pre-select a family in each city to adopt the cats after their tenure in the house ends.

The Meow Mix Company will be producing the show along with Grand Central Marketing, Meow Mix’s event marketing and promotion agency, and MMB, Meow Mix’s advertising agency. All the action will be filmed inside the Meow Mix House and packaged into a series of episodes. Since not everyone can understand what cats are saying, pop-up dialogue bubbles will be used to help translate the meows into English. Negotiations are currently underway with several cable networks regarding the airing of the show.

Although reality television may seem an unlikely departure for a company known primarily for its cat food, Meow Mix CEO and Top Cat Richard Thompson explains that the show is a logical extension for the brand.

“At Meow Mix, we are cat people first and foremost,” said Thompson. “We all own cats, we love cats, and we’ve been making great-tasting catfood for over 30 years. You might say we’re the industry leader in understanding cats. If anyone has the insight to explore the reality of cats’ lives, it would certainly be us.”

Meow Mix will use the reality show as a platform to showcase its products. The cats will eat Meow Mix Indoor Formula and the brand’s newest offering, Meow Mix Market Select wet food, which comes in easy-open cups. In addition, the company’s new line of cat treats will be offered to winners of reward challenges.

Dr. Lewis Berman, one of the country’s best-known and most-respected animal practitioners, will examine all of the cats before they come to live in the house. In addition, he and his associates at Park East Animal Hospital will be on call 24 hours a day in the event that any of the cats need medical assistance.

Several sponsors will be donating furniture, accessories, and services to The Meow Mix House, including Furniture for Pets, who will be providing beds for the cats, and Cats Rule, who will provide bowls, litter mats, and litter scoops. Fat Cat Inc. is supplying cat toys, and Lucky Litter is donating scoop free automatic litterboxes. Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts will provide hotel accommodations for all shelter volunteers who accompany the cats to and from New York.

Going Vegetarian

May 23, 2006

On Sunday, the family & I decided to meet up over a dim sum (the food, not the cat) lunch. Halfway through lunch, I was questioned by my 6 year old niece if I’m just a cat lover or an animal lover (as I’ve lecturered her many times to love & respect all animals). She explained that if I love animals, how can I possibly eat dim sum (where 95% of the food items are meat-based)? But if I’m just a cat lover, then its ok because I just don’t eat cats!

Makes sense. I have been a hypocrite. Here I am, high & mighty, preaching about love & respect for the same animals I ate. That siew mai, which just a second ago was mouth-watering but now just looks nauseating on my plate.

My sis-in-law, who is ever practical, asked “can you wait until end of lunch to become vegetarian or not? I ordered all the food already!” *Sigh*

Later on, I met up with a couple of good friends & somehow the conversation turned to the subject on how chicken farms rear chickens for eggs & slaughter. The methods used are cruel & inhumane. But that conversation strengthened my resolution to become a vegetarian.

My mother called me last night, just to check if I’m still a vegetarian. Yes mom, 24 hours later, I AM still a vegetarian.

People (my mom included) have the misconception that going vegetarian means eating only vegetables & chinese vegetarian bee hoon stuff. This can’t be further from the truth. Vegetarians sustain not just on vegetables but on cereals, grains, pulses, seeds, nuts, fruits, dairy & soy products.

I know the switch from a meat-based diet to the meat-free diet is not going to be easy. That’s where I believe the support and understanding of family and friends comes into play. I do appreciate my mom making a special effort to call to find out I will eat now & what I won’t eat.

I don’t expect neither do I want the people around me to tiptoe or plan their meals around me but a little understanding always helps. It is little gestures like that that will keep me going as a novice vegetarian.

🙂